International volunteers working to restore wetland habitats

More than 6000 trees have been planted at Mungalla Station, and neighbouring properties near Ingham, over the past few months through a partnership between Greening Australia and Conservation Volunteers Australia.

The planting of these trees contributes to the Reef Trust ‘Restoration of Great Barrier Reef Wetlands and Coastal Ecosystems’ project which is jointly funded by the Australian Government and through Greening Australia’s Reef Aid.

Through Reef Aid Greening Australia is improving water quality on the Great Barrier Reef, working with landholders to rebuild eroding gullies and restore vital coastal wetlands across the catchment.

A total of 15,000 trees will be planted across about 60 hectares of mainly riparian zones around the lower Palm Creek area, which includes Mungalla Station.

The tree planting is being done by teams of volunteers coordinated by Conservation Volunteers Australia.

Some are international visitors who are also getting an “Aussie” experience as part of the visit.

Conservation Volunteers Australia Townsville Regional Manager Sharon Marks said the volunteers were from all different backgrounds and ages.

“They come from all over the world like Korea, Denmark and Germany and stay a week at Mungalla Station helping with weeds, planting trees, collecting seeds and working in the nursery as part of the restoration works,” Ms Marks said.

“They also get to experience some of the outback, the indigenous culture at Mungalla and they tour the region.

“Sometimes we get up to three teams with nearly 30 volunteers onsite but generally there will be just one team of international volunteers plus the Skilling Queenslanders for Work local trainees who are doing a 23-week traineeship in Conservation and Land Management.”

Greening Australia Project Manager Niall Connolly said the revegetation efforts supported habitat connectivity.

“Our focus is on creating new habitat to connect up some of the remnant patches of vegetation in this area,” Dr Connolly said.

“It’s for the benefit of wildlife such as mahogany gliders and birds such as the Nankeen Night-Herons, White-browed Robins and Azure Kingfishers.”

Dr Connolly said partnerships with organisations like Conservation Volunteers Australia were important to enable community volunteers to participate in the restoration works and contribute to helping the Great Barrier Reef.

“At Mungalla we have a great relationship with Jacob Cassady and the Mungalla Management Board which is allowing us to make strides in restoring and protecting the priority coastal wetlands in this area,” he said.

“A good working relationship with the landholders and enabling the community to participate is absolutely vital.

“Conservation Volunteers Australia have been a great partner to help deliver the on-ground works and enhance the wider community engagement.”